HC Deb 18 June 1951 vol 489 cc23-4
33. Sir T. Moore

asked the Minister of Transport what recent assessment he has made as to the respective causes of accidents on the roads.

Mr. Barnes

Police reports on all road accidents involving personal injury or death are analysed by my Department each month. The latest available monthly analysis shows that in April, 1951, 89 per cent. of the accidents were considered by the police to have been caused primarily by human error, 4 per cent. by vehicle defects, 2¼ per cent. by animals, ½ per cent. by weather conditions and ¾ per cent. by road defects

Sir T. Moore

In view of that very interesting analysis, can the right hon. Gentleman say if he has any additional plans for dealing with these various causes, especially the first, which would seem to be utterly dependent on some form of education?

Mr. Barnes

The problem of road accidents is very complex. The 89 per cent. is still further dissected and analysed as far as possible, and these matters are dealt with in our propaganda and educational work.

Mr. Peter Thorneycroft

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that, when he stated that only three-quarters of one per cent. of road defects constituted a primary cause of accidents, it was an entire misrepresentation, and that figures of that kind, while they are of some limited use, are almost valueless when seeking to assess the cause of accidents?

Mr. Barnes

It is very difficult to argue that an analysis of this description is useless. I rather fancy that the hon. Member's point is that if we had a more modernised road system we would reduce accidents. In that I agree with him, but this is concerned with the technical defects of our roads, and not their efficiency, which I think is his major concern.

Mr. Poole

Could the right hon. Gentleman say how many accidents were due to too many C licence vehicles being on the roads?